Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Three Killed in Jenin Attack

By Claire Matsunami - March 25, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jenin Refugee Camp] [Extrajudicial Killing]

Palestinians carry the body of Hamza Abu al-Hajla, who was killed in a raid by Israeli troops, during his funeral procession int he West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, Saturday 22 March 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Mohammad Ballas)

Three men were killed in the Jenin refugee camp in the early morning hours of Saturday 21 March during an Israeli military operation targeting Hamza Abu al Hija (22), the son of Jamal Abu al-Hija, a Hamas leader who is currently serving nine life sentences in Israeli prison. Hamza himself was a leader with the al-Qassem Brigades, the armed faction of Hamas. 

Soldiers arrived to the residence where Hamza was staying with friends at 2:45 AM. According to the owner of the house, Abu Iyad Azmeh, the soldiers gave no warning before bombing the door and sending in an attack dog to seek out Hamza.  Hamza shot and killed the dog while the rest of the people in the house hid in a back room. Soldiers began spraying the house with a full array of artillery, including RPG’s.  They continued the assault for over an hour.

Hamza fired back at the soldiers until he ran out of ammunition.  He then jumped out of the second story window and began to crawl down an alley, where the soldiers shot him in the head, killing him. 

Three people in the house were injured: Dalal Azmeh (36) and her brother Muhammad (24) were injured by bullets, and their younger brother Majd (19) was rammed in the head with the butt of a soldier’s gun.  Over 12 other people were injured outside the residence during the assault. Two IDF soldiers sustained injuries.

During the onslaught on the building, neighbors began to shoot at the soldiers from their windows,  throwing stones and Molotov cocktails as well.  Clashes lasted into the morning. Yazan Bassem Jabarin, a 19-year-old who worked at a local bakery, was walking to work when he was shot and killed by a sniper. 

Mahmoud Abu Zheina and his 24-year-old brother Muhammad were carrying Hamza’s body back to his family when snipers began to shoot at them. Mahmoud fled, but Muhammad was shot in the chest and side and later died from his wounds.  

The Israeli army spins a different story

The Israeli army maintains that its forces arrived at the residence in an attempt to arrest Hamza.  

Hamas terrorist barricaded himself & shot at Israeli forces as they tried to arrest him in Jenin, wounding 2 security personnel,” the IDF Spokesperson twitter handle said on Saturday afternoon. 

“Everyone left the home other than the suspect. We ensured there were no family members inside,” a senior military source told the Jerusalem Post. 

Further the Iseraeli army claims that all three men killed were known terrorists.  According to the IDF blog, “After rioters hurled explosives and other weapons at the forces, they returned fire again and killed several other terrorists." The claiming that Abu Zheina was a member of the Islamic Jihad and that Jabbarin was a member of the al Aqsa Brigades. 

Palestinian Authority to have allegedly collaborates on attack

Citizens of the Jenin camp widely believe this operation was collaboration between the Israeli army, the Israeli Border Police and the Palestinian Authority.  

”The PA and Israel, along with the international community, need to take responsibility for their actions, for this death,"said Mahmoud Abu Zeina, Muhammad’s brother, in an interview with the Palestine Monitor.

In a press release put out by Hamas on 22 March, the organization called on the Palestinian Authority to “not be a cause or a cover for these heinous crimes…we demand that the authority and its security forces stop the farce of security coordination forever.”

Families left to mourn 

Assam al-Hija, Hamza’s brother, says he was expecting Hamza’s death because he was a wanted man associated with Hamas attacks, but that his death still hurts. “I can’t see him anymore or hear his voice. It's still a shock, it's still painful." He added that, “the international community will not do anything. They've never done anything, we've tried to ask them to get involved before. Only god can help. I wish for justice for my brother." 

"This is our life. This is how we live. Occupation means death,” added Mahmoud Bassem Jabari, Yazan’s father. 

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